In case you missed this post, click here to read it on red feather smooth stone.
Following my recent posts on the building and setting up of our chicken coop and yard, I wanted to add a few pictures of the coop in winter. The coop is insulated and ventilated—and we have a heat lamp in there that operates on a thermostat—so the chickens are quite comfortable even on the coldest days here in Alberta.
To extend some level of comfort to the outdoors, Brian wraps the entire small yard in plastic, creating a greenhouse, which keeps the chickens reasonably warm when they venture out. The plastic traps the heat, keeps the snow and moisture out of the yard, and blocks the bitter winds. For example, on days when it is -21 degrees celsius outside, it can be as warm as -14 degrees celsius in the yard, depending on whether the sun is shining. This helps keep the coop warm day and night as the window and south- and west-facing walls are against the warmed yard.
Brian hangs the plastic in autumn and takes it down again in spring. He staples the sheets to a wooden frame, then staples thin wooden strips on top of the plastic to hold everything tightly in place. It can get quite hot in there once the weather warms up in spring so we often take the plastic down in stages so that the chickens don’t overheat but can still be out of the wind until it warms up enough to take it all down for the rest of the season.
We carefully roll up the plastic and reuse it year after year (we are on our third year and have only had to replace the door piece once as well as part of the back piece where the goats rubbed through it on the other side of the fence). So far there has been very little waste.
Here is Chayton feeding the girls their evening scratch. It’s nice for us to have a warm place to hang out with the chickens even on the coldest days.
On September 20, 2015, we installed a new window in one of the bedrooms of the cabin. The old window was put in by the previous owners and it wasn’t a very good one. The panes didn’t fit together properly and it let in a lot of cold air in the winter.
Pictured above is the old window. Brian sourced a new window on Kijiji (he is amazing at finding things on that site) and bought it. It was brand new and beautiful in its wooden frame. We stored it until Brian was ready to install it. As it was larger than the old window Brian and his dad, Dale, cut a larger hole in the cedar logs. (Dale is outside standing in the loader bucket of his backhoe.)
Once the hole was measured and cut, Dale and Brian brought the window over in the backhoe and installed it. They were quick and efficient as they had installed windows many times before. Chayton stayed in the room the entire time despite the cold and performed the important task of handing tools to daddy and grandpa. He was very interested in the whole process.
The backhoe made the job a lot easier as it provided a platform to stand on and did all of the heavy lifting.
This new window has really added to the quality of our lives: it is more attractive both inside and out, it is larger so we can now view the chicken coop from up there, and the bedroom is a lot warmer now in winter.
This project was a small step (among many) that we have been taking over the years toward maintaining the cabin and making it more energy efficient.